It’s carnival season and your knee jerk reaction may be to fly to Rio to see what all the fuss is about in Brazil. But here at Black Tomato we are all about bringing you new ideas and unique travel experiences, so let us tell you about some lesser known but equally festive ways to celebrate carnival and better yet let us tack it onto a precisely tailored and completely satisfying holiday itinerary to make the most out your time off.

 

Bolivia 300x300 Five Alternatives to Rio for CarnivalOruro, Bolivia

After a night in the fantastical salt hotels of the expansive Salar de Uyuni and just before setting off in kayaks across the idyllic Lake Titicaca, make a mandatory stop in the mining town of Oruro for a Carnival celebration that dates back more than 2,000 years. A unique combination of Andean divinities and Christian images populate the 10-day festivities, highlighted by a 20-hour parade that involves more than 20,000 dancers and 10,000 musicians. Take me there…

 

Goa 300x300 Five Alternatives to Rio for CarnivalGoa, India

In Goa, Carnival dates back to the area’s Portuguese heritage and is the only place in India where it is celebrated. Every year an elected King dubbed King Momo presides over the festivities and opens the parade on a float by ordering his subjects to party. And party they do, colourful floats, masked dancers and street plays entertain the swarms of locals and tourists from all around the world while onlookers get covered in coloured powder and water.

Carnival takes place in various cities throughout Goa and is a natural addition to exploring Goa’s sprawling forests, serene lagoons and chilled beach vibes on the warm waters of the Arabian Sea. Take me there…

 

Venice 300x300 Five Alternatives to Rio for Carnival

Venice, Italy

With an origin dating back to the 12th century; Venetian Carnival experienced its peak during the Renaissance and has recently made a resurgence attracting approximately three-million tourists annually. In Venice, Carnival is all about elaborate masks and the 12-day processions including jousting tournaments, theatrical performances and decorated gondolas filling the Grand Canal, culminate in a grand masked ball in an equally grand palace.

Take that already extraordinary holiday in Venice over the top and explore the streets and canals surrounded by ornately costumed revelers. A true return to the Renaissance. Take me there…

 

Mexico 300x300 Five Alternatives to Rio for CarnivalMazatlán, Mexico

Take part in the largest Carnival celebration in Mexico in the city of Mazatlán where mariachi bands play next to Christian idols which are set next to indigenous folk dancers. In an ode to a centuries-old tradition, party-goers break cascarones (confetti-filled eggs) on each other while hurling streams of coloured ribbon. For an entire week before lent a seven-mile stretch of the beachfront Malecon is transformed into a giant street party with costumed dancing, amazing street food and pumping music. Following the festivities, ferry directly from Mazatlán to La Paz and explore the tip of the Baja Peninsula ending in the ultra-luxurious Capella Pedregal resort in Cabos San Lucas – from wild festivities to pure peace and serenity on the beach. Take me there…

 

Trinidad 300x300 Five Alternatives to Rio for CarnivalTrinidad, The Caribbean

Move to the rhythms of calypso and steel drums with a carnival in the heart of the Caribbean. Held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the carnival celebrates both Catholic traditions and freedom from slavery for Trinidadians, who waste no time in getting into the party mood (celebrations kick off at 4am). Get ready for a stunning spectacle as thousands of costumed dancers hit the streets in an explosion of colour, music and revelry. Soak up the vibrant atmosphere before heading to your luxury villa where you can unwind with the stunning views of the Caribbean Ocean. Take me there…